Day 18 – 26/7/2010 – Inverness to Newtonmore. 49 miles (+ 4 mile evening walk)

Route plan for the day’s cycling:

Route plan for the day’s walking:

I spent a wonderful morning and early afternoon in Inverness sorting out my gear and recouperating in readiness for the journey home. My first priority was to fix the rip in my tent’s flysheet, so I went to Craigdon Mountain Sports, a very helpful camping store in town. Not only did they recommend a tailor to get the tear stitched up, but also allowed me to leave my bike in the store and dried the inner of my tent while I was waiting for the repair to take place! Meanwhile, I enjoyed an indulgent and well-needed all day breakfast at a local cafe. I bought food and a few things I needed before reluctantly mustering up the energy to leave the city and setting off down the A9. I pulled in at a layby a little way in to talk to a couple of cyclists. They were around my age (perhaps a bit younger) and turned out to be doing a fully supported JOGLE trip on racers with no luggage. I wished them luck and mindful of their significant weight advantage got a headstart before turning off onto the scenic “B” road to Moy. I would be following the A9 southwards, but taking all the possible detours off it to avoid the treacherous traffic. After cycling over Slochd summit, I stopped at Carrbridge for an ice-cream. The village boasts the oldest packhorse bridge in the Highlands, quaintly built from local stone in 1717.

The bridge at Carrbridge

The bridge at Carrbridge

When I reached Newtonmore it was getting late and the weather had turned. I did not want to negotiate Drumochter pass at dusk on the busy A9 and I doubted I would find accommodation further on. I had decided to treat myself to a bed and breakfast, so I found a local guest house. It was luxury having a proper bed and bedroom for a night! Being within the Cairngorms National Park and in some good hill country I ventured on a short evening walk up a small hill called Creag an Loin. This was quite a wild walk with no clearly defined path. I was surprised at how moorland-like the hills were – not as rugged as I had imagined the Cairngorms might be – but nonetheless scenic and there were fine views down Glen Banchor.

The road into Glen Banchor

The road into Glen Banchor

Glen Banchor

Glen Banchor

The slopes of Creag Bheag

The slopes of Creag Bheag

Expansive moorland view

Expansive moorland view

Summit cairn

Summit cairn

Glen Banchor from Creag an Loin

Glen Banchor from Creag an Loin

Heather on Creag an Loin

Heather on Creag an Loin

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